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Whitelock scores with last touch in France

All Blacks Centurion Sam Whitelock has had a fairytale finish to his last professional rugby match in France.

The former All Blacks captain, who played 153 matches for New Zealand, scored to seal Pau's 36-24 victory over Perpignan in the final round of the French Top 14 competition on Sunday (Monday NZ Time).


Whitelock took a skip pass to slide over in the right corner in the 81st minute, his first five-pointer since scoring for the All Blacks against the Wallabies at Eden Park on September 24, 2022.

New Zealand's most-capped lock took a 5m lineout throw, with Pau's rolling maul pulled down just short of the line. After one phase in-field, Whitelock stayed out-wide where reserve halfback Dan Robson found him.

Whitelock showed some rare emotion after going over, pumping his fist, before teammates piled on to celebrate.

The 35-year-old joined Pau, who finished ninth with a 13-0-13 record, after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, playing 12 matches. He announced in April he would retire at the end of the French season.

Sam Whitelock Pau Top 14 rugby
Sam Whitelock bowed out of professional rugby with a try for Pau with his last touch. PHOTO: TOP 14

Elsewhere in France, former All Blacks halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow scored his third try in all competitions and first in the Top 14 in La Rochelle's 24-19 victory over Racing Metro 92 to secure a place in the top-six playoffs.

Another former All Black, wing Leicester Fainga'anuku, came off the bench and scored in the 76th minute for Toulon but it came too late in a 23-20 loss to Stade Francais.

Toulon finished fourth in the standings, setting up a quarterfinal match against fifth-placed La Rochelle on Saturday (7.05am Sunday NZT).

In the United Rugby Championship, former NZ Maori wing turned Ireland international James Lowe scored two tries in Leinster's 43-20 victory over Ulster in Dublin on Saturday (Sunday NZT) in the quarterfinals.

Lowe crossed in the 33rd and 45th minutes for his eighth and ninth tries in all competitions for the Irish club, setting up a trip to Pretoria to face the Bulls in the semifinals on Saturday (2am Sunday NZT).

In Round 15 of Major League Rugby, Jayson Potroz and the New England Free Jacks won the battle of Kiwi first-fives against Jason Robertson and Old Glory DC 31-30 in Maryland on Saturday (Sunday NZT).

Potroz, who helped guide Taranaki to the National Provincial Championship (NPC) title last year, scored a try and kicked three conversions and a penalty for 14 points as the Free Jacks fought back from 30-17 down with 20 minutes to play.

Robertson, a former Waikato, Counties Manukau and Bay of Plenty No 10, booted three conversions, two penalties and a drop-goal for 15 points.

Elsewhere in MLR, former Manawatu and Highlanders midfielder Rob Emery scored in RFC Los Angeles' 29-12 loss to the Houston Sabercats, which also saw ex Wellington and Northland hooker Bruce Kauika-Petersen red-carded in the second half.

Former Counties Manukau and Chiefs wing Toni Pulu scored a first-half try in the Seattle Seawolves' 68-29 rout of the Utah Warriors, with ex North Harbour prop Fatongia Paea and Southland wing Michael Mason dotting down for Utah.


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